Crunch caters to exercisers of all interests and fitness levels, cramming each state-of-the-art fitness facility with name-brand equipment and a welcoming, nonjudgmental attitude. Members have the opportunity to pay for access to each club's diverse syllabi of classes, organized into categories such as action sports, chill outs, and dance rhythms. DIESEL classes incorporate interval training with cardio interval bursts for a total-body workout. Fat Burning Pilates combines cardio- and Pilates-based toning to help cut out cellulite. Aerobics with an Attitude sends students in a free-spirited dance workout without any rules or judgment. Crunch also offers personal-training sessions that begin with a physical assessment and include a comprehensive body-composition analysis. One-on-one drills foster the seeds of self-improvement, as this level of personal attention allows the experts to forge an engaging workout as well as a custom nutrition plan for each exerciser.
Even if clients can't make it to the gym, Crunch Live turns any living room or office into a workout space with an online video library of over 35 workouts. Students sweat and move along at home to easy-to-follow exercise routines led by energetic trainers as they tone targeted muscle groups and burn fat with courses in yoga, core strength, workouts for athletes, or Pilates.
Nicole Damaris knows what it means to battle with weight. She started modeling as a child and struggled to keep her body slim through excessive diet and exercise plans. At the young age of 19, she began suffering from health problems, leading her to research healthier ways that she, along with others, could maintain a sleek frame. The result of her efforts is NDG Fit, a ladies-only fitness studio that pairs aerobic exercise and strength training with a fun, sexy atmosphere. With the motto "health is beauty," Nicole's well-trained staff helps students feel beautiful from the inside out by working to whittle their bodies into healthy shape—which isn't always a size 2.
In the open, sunny studio, groups of 4–15 ladies torch calories and build muscle while wearing 3- to 5-inch heels. During this 45-minute Stiletto Workout class, high-heeled students strut through exercises that leverage body weight to build core strength, increase balance, and build conditioning for business-casual Olympics. Other sexy fitness classes such as pole dancing and one-on-one personal-training sessions send exercisers hurtling through a full-body workout that leaves pulses tap-dancing.
In his early teens, Mario Godiva Green was overweight. At school, kids bullied him daily, and he was tired of their incessant mockery. At 16, his mother died, providing the catalyst to the dramatic life change that Mario was about to embark on. Over the next 11 years, his rise to prominence in the fitness circles of New York and Chicago was nothing short of meteoric. From modeling for Calvin Klein to pioneering Kangoo workouts in the United States, Mario has been at the forefront of physical fitness. His work has been featured on the New York Times, The Steve Harvey Show, and ABC Nightline.
Today he jet-sets around the world to promote and teach Kangoo to throngs of eager exercisers and underachieving gravity forces, and his Kangoo classes have become one of the trendiest, most exclusive workouts in the city. A firm believer in having fun while exercising, his hip-hop classes are half dance, half fitness class, and he also leads hoppers throughout Manhattan during outdoor boot camps and jogs. The springy shoes reduce the impact on the joints and spine, harnessing the 33 health benefits associated with rebounding without danger to joint cartilage.
Most boot camps give fitness seekers a view of another person's back during class, so when certified trainer Ariane Hundt started her boot camp, she chose her favorite sightseeing spots in the city. Students make a round trip across the Brooklyn bridge, with unmatched views of the city along the way. But it's not your eyes that get the main workout. Self magazine named Ariane's class one of the hottest boot camps in the country because participants also challenge themselves using bridge structures and benches as exercise props. Ariane's stable of trainers lead other outdoor boot camps with scenic views as well, including one that begins and ends in Central Park. Each is a small-group session capped at 15–20 students that challenges people of virtually any fitness level, making it easy for students to join at any time. They can also get support in reaching their fitness goals with the company's nutrition and weight-loss programs.
The more than a dozen brick-and-mortar locations that make up Ultimate Champions Taekwondo Association share not only a style of combat, but a teaching philosophy as well. Tracing the lineage of their combative art back to Grandmaster Sang K. Oh, the instructors adhere to his teachings, exemplified by the quote, "The person who can defeat others with flashy techniques but is without love toward his fellow man will in the end defeat himself." Students use the physical empowerment of mastering jumps, kicks, and weapons to arm themselves with discipline, confidence, concentration, self-respect, and courtesy for others.
Outside of the classroom, the organization reaches out to the tri-state community with ample demonstrations of some of their most exciting techniques. Practitioners soar skyward in flying kicks or fill the air with the whirring blows of nunchakus, bos, and kamas. Fists slam through boards, balloons, and bricks to demonstrate the striking power of tae kwon do and the structural flaws in the Three Little Pigs' panic room.
Malenna Saunders grabs her ROTC and Air Force experience by the horns when she leads intense indoor and outdoor boot-camp or fitness classes. Warrior boot camp prepares patrons to slay unwanted fat during a 60-minute romp through plyometric and cardio conditioning melded with strength training and calisthenics routines, and Bowery Babes boot-camp sessions cater to moms or three toddlers standing on one another's shoulders dressed as a mom. Meanwhile, kettlebell workouts and functional exercises tone everyday muscles.
Certified instructors helm other group fitness classes, such as Vinyasa yoga and Zumba cardio-dance classes, within studios fully stocked with workout-enhancing props. Patrons of all fitness levels shimmy into Zumba sessions to hip-shake away excess poundage, mastering easy-to-follow Latin dance moves, which can add spice to tired chimney-sweeping routines.